An aggregation of all our news sources: blog posts, events, Facebook posts and email newsletters.Subscribe via RSS
This beautiful hardcover edition is in the Landmark series of classical histories. The versions on Thucydides and Herodotus were outstanding, and now there’s a new one on Caesar’s works. The Gallic War is probably the most famous, covering the conquest of what is now Britain and France, Belgium and Switzerland, between 58 and 50 BC. But the other works are just as fascinating, and they’re all in this 800 page volume. This is a new translation, and there are detailed annotations , maps and illustrations that bring the time and the man to light. A fabulous gift for any history fan.
People may be familiar with Timothy Ferris. His book “The 4-Hour Work Week” has been, and still is, a bestseller. I wonder why? In his new book, “Tribe of Mentors”, he’s tracked down 100 eclectic mentors and distilled their thoughts to help us navigate our way to a successful, happy and meaningful life. You’ll learn why actor Ben Stiller likes to dunk his head in a bucket of ice in the morning, and why TED curator Chris Anderson thinks “pursue your passion” is terrible advice! And a lot more…A great gift if you can bear to part with it after you buy it.
This book had me from the hillarious first line. I expected to laugh at this quirky read about falling in love, but I didn't expect to be in tears. For fans of the Rosy Project and anything by Sophie Kinsella.
Boffins Books are proud to present the book launch for Lintang and the Forbidden Island by Tamara Moss.
Stephen Fry has been entertaining us for years. The Greek myths have been doing so for far longer. Finally they are brought together - Stephen Fry in this book retelling the myths for our times. Move over Ovid. As you’d expect, this is a delightful rendering of many of the Greek myths, and will make a great gift for Stephen Fry fans.
Who hasn’t wondered at how some places with very depressing or unusual names got them, or why? This fascinating book reveals all. There’s the story of the young Edward John Eyre’s attempt to find Australia’s inland sea, but ending up on a hilltop that looked out on barren salt pans in every direction. That’s why he called the hill Mount Hopeless. There’s a place on the Ohio River in the U.S.A. that was set up in the 1840s as a model community based on the ideas of the French philosopher Charles Fourier – involving collective living and labour, gender equality, mutual investment. A communist paradise! Not surprising that it was named Utopia .Except that during one of the worst floods of the nineteenth century, when the residents of Utopia were in their riverbank hall celebrating, they were swept down river and most drowned or died later of hypothermia. From collective living to collective dying. Most utopias seem to fail, but this was a very sad failure indeed – except for the name which is still there, mocking it all. In the north of England there’s a place – well, not really a place, I suppose, called No Place. It started in the late nineteenth century as a cluster of houses, and was given the name No Place because it wasn’t a legitimate town. As it’s grown, there have been attempts to rename it, but the locals have taken to their identity as No-Placers and the name has stuck. This book takes us on a delightful journey to odd and often obscure places, with unusual stories. Beautifully illustrated, in a smart hardcover edition, it’s a great Christmas choice for dispirited travellers.
This book is the perfect gift for bird watchers in W.A. The first section presents 45 endemic birds, with photographs and even information on the best places and times to see them. The remainder of the book presents all of the species, with illustrations, found in W.A. It’s a handy-sized, beautifully presented guide to our local birds.
Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees has been a best seller, and now he’s turned his pen to the inner lives of animals. In this new book he draws more on the known science of what goes on in animals’ heads. It’s presented in short chapters, and covers subjects like motherly love, gratitude, deception, desire, shame, grief, fear and many more.There are numerous fascinating stories – one fascinating one is of an “abandoned” faun, brought home by children when it had in fact really been carefully hidden by its mother, so that she could graze and replenish her milk reserves. But the faun, raised as a pet, when it matured, far from becoming tame, tried to chase away its human “parents”, which now encroached on its “land”, resulting in violent attacks on its human foster parents.
Rosamund Young has lived on an English farm, with free range cows, since the early 1950s. In this quaint and fascinating book, she shares her experiences of living and working with farm animals – cows of course, but also pigs and chickens – to illustrate how they have unique personalities, how they live in family groups and have friends, and are far more clever than most of us give them credit for. She finds that cows have empathy, guile, altruism, happiness, eccentricity – and illustrates all these characteristics with delightful stories: such as about the cow that always removes the woollen hat worn by one of the farmhands, but never anyone else’s; or the cow that wakes her with its desperate mooing, then leads her to its sick calf. Young is not a vegetarian, and as a cattle farmer you know that she is not catering for vegetarians. But she does have very strong views about the treatment of farm animals, in particular she is opposed to intensive farming of animals and of the numerous cruelties that go on unseen by supermarket shoppers. Alan Bennet says in his introduction to this book, it “…alters the way one looks at the world, with dumb animals not as dumb as we would sometimes like to think.”
You can spend hours with your nose in this book. It’s jam-packed with memories for those who are cricket fans, great photos for the armchair historians, and wonderful nuggets of information. For instance, I had no idea that the first Ashes test match to be played at the WACA was in fact a women’s Ashes Test in 1958 - twelve years ahead of the men in 1970. I also didn’t know that the original site for the ground was where Elizabeth Quay now stands.
A superlative anthology of Victorian-era horror ranging from well-known stories like Frankenstein and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, to forgotten gems from authors such as Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins and even Louisa May Alcott. All bound in a beautiful red-and-black leather cover. Perfect for any horror fan or any classic lit reader.
These new collections of Helen Garner’s work make a beautiful set with their contrasting hardcovers. Any lover of Australian writing should own her work – it’s beautiful, at times heartbreaking and at times hilarious, and always worth the read.
An affordable guide to small housing. The 21 profiles across Australia offer tips for making the most out of the space you have while still a creating functional and impressive home.
Now this is a fascinating book indeed. Fowler looks at 99 authors who were once hugely popular, but have all but disappeared from our shelves. There’s Leslier Charteris, whose English stiff-upper lipped hero “The Saint” (Simon Templar) was the world’s greatest thief – but used his powers against despots and villains. Not that this stopped the police from forever trying to put him behind bars. As well as about 100 Saint books, the spinoffs included comic strips, and even Vincent Price playing the character on radio in the 1940s. And of course later, Roger Moore featured in the TV series. It was all huge – but who reads The Saint now? And what do Percy Howard Newby, Bernice Rubens, J.G. Farrell, Stanley Middleton have in common, apart from writing fiction? They were all winners of the Booker Prize – one of the most illustrious awards of all. But do you remember them? And on and on – it’s a wonderful exploration of now neglected writers who were once on everyone’s lips.
This book is actually a 1927 condensed and edited compilation of 2 autobiographical books written by Barnum. It’s a delightful facsimile edition of 450 pages with 48 additional illustrations. This is a rags to riches story, “ presenting Barnum’s own story as he himself first set it down, without regard to the qualms and tremors of respectability which gradually overcame the franker side of his nature”. Barnum was a tireless promoter and entertainer, and probably the best known American of his time. There are the hoaxs and scams – the “Feejee mermaid” – half monkey, half fish; Tom Thumb, “the smallest person who ever walked alone” was presented as an 11 year old but was really only 4; the Siamese twins and the bearded lady.
Wreck tells two stories, flipping between the two as the plot unfolds, padding out each one with more information as the reader gets closer to finding out the sinister secrets within. When amateur reporter Tamara finds a message in a bottle she doesn't think she will be hunted down by men with guns, until she runs into William, son of a well known, wealthy family whose tragic boating accident years before has dredged up some intriguing questions and the truth finally comes out. This book will keep you on your toes. Fleur Ferris has a knack for picking her reader so well.
Thanks to #LoveOzYA we now have an awesome collection of Australian authors in this short story collection. No matter what genre you like, this is a collection of outstanding reading from not only some of our YA Literary greats but debut authors as well. If you want to read something new but you're not sure what, or if you're just starting to get into YA and don't know where to start, this is the perfect book to pick up and relax with.
This book has an amazing representation of grief and anxiety.
Perth author James Foley's second book in the Sally Tinker series is sure to intrigue any budding reader. For fans of the Bad Guys, this comic book style junior novel is a funny story, intertwined with interesting facts and a cool adventure. It's warm and fun and has many underlying themes, like environmental conservation, family and creative science!
Local Perth author Frane Lessac has created another beautiful masterpiece in her A is for... series. This one includes iconic and lesser known animals that inhabit our wonderful country. With little facts throughout, this is a thoughtful gift and must-have book for any library.
Ned’s the hero, but Mrs Kelly should be. This superb biography of the indefatigable Ellen Kelly who lived from 1832 until 1923 and had 12 children from two husbands encompasses a long period of great social change in Australia. It’s incredibly well researched, it’s a great narrative, and it is beautifully nuanced to give us a panoramic view of the Australia of the time through the goings-on of one very large family. A very rewarding reading experience.
This gritty novel set in the west of Sydney introduces a world of migrants, disconnected youth, gay sex and drugs. It’s a powerful and unsettling novel about identity and addiction, with great narrative energy. Highly recommended.
Boffins Books has been lucky enough to be involved in several events with Catherine Fox who is always insightful and a big hit with the audience.
This book captured my interest because it reminded me of my childhood favourites, Tamora Pierce and Mercedes Lackey. It’s a great blend of fantasy and action adventure and hits all the right spots – a courageous and kind-hearted main character finding their way in a strange new world and using all their skills to overcome a host of troubles, from schoolyard bullies to escaped shadow-beasts and discovering magical talents. This hardcover gift edition features a gorgeous cover and will be a treasured addition to any young person's library.
Edward Lear is known to us all for his nonsense poems, his brilliant natural history paintings, his landscapes and his travel writing. He belongs solidly in the age of Darwin and Dickens - he gave Queen Victoria drawing lessons, and he counted Tennyson as one of his many friends. But his genius for the absurd and his dazzling word play make him a very modern spirit. This beautifully illustrated biography brings Edward Lear to life for us – a uniquely gifted man who lived all his life on the boundaries of rules and structures, disciplines and desires.
Published to coincide with the National Museum of Australia exhibit, this book is simply stunning. The illustrations and photographs of the works are fascinating in themselves, but the in-depth analysis and explanation of the visual language really elevates this book into a must-have for any art lover, collector, or those interested in Indigenous knowledge of Australia.
Anyone who spent their summer holidays playing games and imagining other worlds will love this graphic novel from Perth artist Campbell Whyte. Now that school is finished for the year, it's time to relax, plan sleepovers, and maybe...find romance? But when David, Lily and their gang of friends fall into a river and find themselves in another world, finding their way home becomes top priority. Whyte uses a range of styles, from lush paintings to retro 8-bit graphics, to explore a fantasy world any 80's kid will find familiar.
A truly outstanding book from a great Australia author. This is the story of a decade or so in Miller’s own life, but written as a novel, beginning with his arrival alone in Australia in the 1950s. It is often painful and sad, but always wonderfully considered. If you love Australian literature or are at all interested in the process and sheer effort of writing, then you will find this book fascinating
Alfred Deakin, Australia’s second Prime Minister, was a brilliant orator and intellectual, a leading federalist and nation builder, and the orchestrator of much public policy that endured for over three quarters of a century. He also had a fascinating private life. Judith Brett has rounded out the man in this fascinating biography that is a delight to read.
In 1961 Martin Goodman, the publisher of the small and struggling Marvel, decided to take on DC with their winning trio of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Since then the slugfest has been on. You were either Marvel or DC; the underdog or the conservative; Marvel thought DC drawings were boring, DC thought Marvel’s were brutish and ugly, and many other perceived differences in spite of the fact that the writers and artists (with the exception of Stan Lee) have at some point worked for both companies.
A great fun read with facts and trivia from Johnny O’Keefe (late 50’s) to contemporary, with a broad range of titles from top 40 to cult items. A lot of the fun of books of lists is whether you agree or disagree with their selection (I have my list of albums I can’t believe they didn’t include).
Apartment dwelling is becoming more popular, and this book covers dwellings of all sizes, from suburban duplexes to vertical living in twin towers. This is a lavishly illustrated hardcover book that shows the best of all types of Australian apartments. It will appeal to architects and designers as well as anyone planning to move into an apartment.
If you want to see amazing contemporary buildings that really were built, then this portable sized book will be your best compantion. It presents 1,000 of the most compelling works of architecture built in the last 30 years from all over the world. It’s organized geographically, with maps, and an image and descriptive text for each building. Absolutely essential for all travellers who love architecture.
Some of the most exciting buildings in history are the ones that never got built. This magnificently illustrated book captures some of the best of these – from medieval times up to the present. Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Dome over Manhattan – 2 miles in diameter and high enough to cover the Empire State Building – has to be one of the most ambitious in this book. There’s even a project from Western Australia, that probably not many peope are aware of - A cathedral at New Norcia. Would you believe that in the 1950s Abbot Gregory Gomez commissioned the famous Italian engineer Pier Luigi Nervi to design a cathedral for New Norcia, with seating for 820 people and standing room for a further thousand? This amazing modernist project – with 30 metre parabolic arches built in concrete and infilled with stained glass windows - was abandoned in the early 1960s because the cost was unrealistic. Only the plans and models remain – and the vast stained-glass windows that are said to be in storage. A great book for architects, anyone interested in history and design,
If you want to know what are the best wines to drink from Western Australia this summer, go no further than this book. Covering all of our wine regions and the wineries within them, you’ll learn what are the best wines, and what are the best value wines, what to drink now and what to put down for later. Great too to take on your travels, with all the addresses and opening hours of the wineries. It’s just arrived, and as in every year it’s being snapped up. You can make Ray Jordan your guide to a great wine cellar with this book.
12 years ago Jane bought a derelict chateau in Normandy and moved her young family from Melbourne to live in France. With her husband, she spent two years restoring it to its former glory; now you can spend lots of money and stay there for a week during the French summer. This book is Jane’s guide to how to achieve a French look in any interior space. She takes you through private French residences, apartments and country estates, and immerses you in Gallic flair. Any Francophile with a love of French style will drool over this book.
Jason is a Melbourne architect and interior designer with a passion for indoor plants. He firmly believes that tropical plants are the best choices for indoor greenery, as there’s a tropical plant to suit all light conditions in your home. They also have an immense range of foliage textures and colour. His book is a superb guide to creating an indoor rainforest, complete with all the information you need to care for your plants and with detailed profiles of a range of suitable plants.
Warren Mundine grew up as an Aboriginal boy in 1950s country N.S.W. - a second class citizen in a world of segregation that few Australians today are truly aware of. Now he frequents the highest echelons of power and business and is widely regarded as one of Australia’s national treasures – and is one of the most revered activists and agents for improving his people’s standing. Controversial and energetic, Warren Mundine advocates for engaging his people in business and infrastructure development, for them to be accepted as an integral part of a modern society. In this fascinating new book he puts his own life in perspective, and argues his case of how to close the gap.
Many people will have read and loved Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, the story of his life, and the freedom struggle, up to the end of apartheid in South Africa. In 1994 Mandela of course became the first president of a truly democratic South Africa. He started on a memoir of this time, but didn’t finish it. Mandla Langa, a respected South African journalist, has written this story of Mandela’s presidential years, using Mandela’s own notes. It’s an extraordinary story of a country in transition and the challenges Mandela faced as he strove to make his vision of a new South Africa a reality.
This is the first full-length, unauthorised biography of Muhammad Ali – he was probably the world’s most famous sporting icons but also once of the most significant figures of the second half of the twentieth century, and a symbol of freedom and courage. Jonathan Eig, has really done his work – he’s conducted over 500 interviews; had access to almost all of Ali’s family members, close friends, and business associates. So this book really digs into his life and gives us a deeper, rounder picture of the man – of his incredible strengths but also of his flaws. It’s so well written that it’s a compulsive read – once you start you’re sucked in. And there are many new findings from Eig’s research that make it fascinating. I found that Ali was punched more than 200,000 times in his career, and that one indicator of the extent of his cognitive damage was that his speech slowed by 50% between the ages of 30 and 40 years – and normally it doesn’t slow at all in these years. The mafia, his religion, the Nation of Islam, his marriages and divorces, his mistresses, the FBI, drugs – you name it, it’s all covered in this book and you’ll get a big picture as never before of this famous and fascinating man.
This series has all the markings of a fantastic space opera: a ragtag interspecies crew, a mysteriously dangerous alien species, and a frenetic adventure through the galaxy. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is funny, exciting, and full of heart.
Before his death in 2015 Oliver Sacks left instructions for the publication of these essays as a collection. They range from Darwin’s botanical observations to false memories, plagiarism to our awareness of time, and are all written with Sacks’ signature enthusiasm for the world of science. As was his habit, Sacks often provides a personal context to his subject and nearly always an historical one. His had a gift of making the complex both comprehensible and fascinating and his breadth of knowledge is truly on show in The River of Consciousness.
Media Mogul Henry Dunbar is on the run. With the help of his new friend Peter - an alcoholic ex comedian who has given good advice on how to avoid taking his meds - he has escaped from the sanatorium in which two of his daughters, Abby and Megan, have placed him. While Peter opts for the local pub, Dunbar heads for the hills, hotly pursued by daughters and authorities. He wants his power and his money back, but most of all he wants his sanity to return, and the chance to beg the forgiveness of his youngest daughter Florence, whom he has wronged.
As kids, many of us placed Enid Blyton’s the Famous Five amongst our favourite adventurers. Smugglers, kidnappings, buried treasure – as an 8 year old I loved reading them, and so did all my friends. Well, they’re back. Grown up a bit. But still with a thirst for adventure, in a series of spoofs of the original Famous Five books. The latest ones includes what must be their biggest adventure, a visit to Oz. They romp around Sydney, and then have an outback adventure in Wagga Wagga, where Timmy the dog is bailed up by a blue heeler as Julian fails to shear a sheep, and George faces a poisonous brown snake. They’re actually quite glad to return to Sydney, especially George who finds a job as a hotel bouncer. A wonderful little gift or stocking filler
In 2015, Michael Smith, a Melbourne cinema operator, became the first person to fly solo around the world in an amphibious plane. He retraced the 1938 Qantas, Imperial Airways and Pan Am flying boat routes between Sydney, Southampton and New York. In the U.S., he flew up the Mississippi, landing on the river and sleeping on sandbanks at night. He flew form Alaska to Japan – one of the most fascinating legs of the journey, and down through Asia to home. Smith's historic flight lasted seven months, and this book is his story of his incredible journey. As Dick Smith said of this book, it’s “great Aussie spirit in a good old-fashioned seat-of-the-pants adventure.
I really enjoyed the way this book delved into the back stories and inner thoughts of the protagonists, giving a very rounded perspective of the individuals and their interactions with each other. The grittiness of these flawed characters, surrounded by the harsh but beautiful Australian bush made it an interesting read with plenty of things to mull over and consider in two very different perspectives. Contemporary bush survival meets ancient Aboriginal tribal life melding the story of art, discovery, revenge and tradition into an intriguing novel. I think this would spark quite a lot of good discussions for readers.
The Deyrolle boutique in Paris is a world-famous temple to the natural world, a cabinet of curiosities with amazing examples of flora and fauna, taxidermy, and otherworldly creations that highlight the intersection of science and art. Since 1831 they’ve been raising awareness of environmental and wildlife causes. This beautiful book provides a fascinating insight into the history and day-to-day workings of this unique Parisian institution and into the wonders of the natural world. It’s a hardcover book, in a slipcase, with marbled end pages. An exquisite book to keep or to gift.
In 2007 Shaun Greenhalgh was sentenced to 4 years and 8 months in prison for the crime of producing artistic forgeries. The case shocked the art world, because of the breadth of Shaun’s forgeries. This is his own account of his notorious career, copying Leonardo drawings, Anglo-Saxon brooches, modernist paintings – even Stone Age art. It’s a witty book from a charming rogue, who made his copies in his garden shed, and was able to fool museums and collectors all over the world. Several staff members at Boffins have read this book, and they all loved it.
If you love watching Antiques Roadshow you’ll be intrigued by this new book, full of astonishing stories, such as: The Lalique vase bought for a pound at a car boot sale, then left in a loft, and later valued and sold for 25,000 pounds; A silver-cased Omega wristwatch – bought at a market for 70 pounds – and later discovered to have been Lawrence of Arabia’s watch. Then sold for over 30,000 pounds (to the Omega Museum in Switzerland). Some of the items haven’t been sold, but are fascinating for their associations – like the Dambusters’ Panda mascot. This is a beautiful hardcover book with excellent illustrations, unearthing moments from history through extraordinary objects.
The Redex Reliability Trial, an insanely brutal and ambitious road race around Australia that took place every year from the 1950s through to the end of the 90s, serves as the backdrop for Peter Carey’s equally ambitious new novel. Irene and Titch Bobs enlist their neighbour, Willie Bachhuber as navigator and take off in a Holden sponsored car determined to make their name and ensure their future. As the narration alternates between ‘Mrs Bobs’ and Willie, the trio make their way around the ancient continent whose tragic history is revealed along with their own. By turns hilarious and tragic, Carey’s prose fizzes as always. A Long Way From Home is a rollicking good read
This is a beautiful book indeed. Covering 84 golf courses around the world, it’ll have passionate golfers reaching for their Lonely Planet guide. There’s even a thoroughly international course in Wales that has three of it’s holes just across the border in England. A perfect, luxurious gift for the golfer in your life.
We’re supposedly the most sport-obsessed country in the world, so this book can really help us understand ourselves. It’s a wonderfully irreverent survey of Australian sport – the history, the characters, the pub meetings; even gambling, corruption and drugs are covered. The bulk of the book covers the different sports. First covered are the big 5: cricket, rugby union, AFL, rugby league, and soccer. Then all the others – even motorsports gets in there. It’s great to learn that we’re one of only 5 countries to attend every summer Olympics, even though we weren’t really a country for the first two in Athens (1896) and Paris (1900). This book is great fun to read – get it for yourself or as a gift for anyone who loves sport. That’s almost everyone because, according to the author, researchers put the number of Australians who don’t like sport to be possibly as high as 20 people.
The City of Perth Library, UWA Institute of Advanced Studies, UWA Publishing and Boffins Books are proud to present a celebration of Fay Zwicky’s life, craft and legacy with the editors of The Collected Poems, Lucy Dougan and Tim Dolin, and the poet John Kinsella.
Boffins Books are proud to present an in-store book signing with comedian Joel Creasey as he speaks about his book, Thirsty: Confessions of a Fame Whore.
Set in a period of great change in the United States, Manhattan Beach tells the stories of Anna Kerrigan, her father Eddie and the underworld figure Dexter Styles. Eddie disappeared when Anna was still a kid, but as an adult she decides to try and find out what happened to him, and if Dexter Styles had anything to do with his disappearance. Manhattan Beach is an engrossing tale that makes you want to turn every page to discover what happens next in the lives of Anna, Eddie and Dexter.
We all remember Peter Greste’s incarceration in Egypt, his sham trial for “threatening national security:, and his 400 days of solitary confinement and detention in an Egyptian gaol. This book is more than just an account of his horrifying experience. He’s been reporting for two decades from the front lines of conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. He asserts in this book that the media has become part of the battlefield; journalists have moved from being witnesses of war to a means by which war is waged. From the murders at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, to Trump’s phony war on “fake news” and Australia’s metadata laws, he tells the effect this is all having on the nature or reporting and the mind of the reporter – and of yow modern journalism and truth are under threat.
Rob Langon served in the Australian Army for 15 years before becoming a security contractor working in Iraq and Afghanistan. In July 2009, while protecting a convoy, he shot and killed an Afghan guard during a heated argument after the guard drew a pistol on him. Rob’s claim of self defence was dismissed by a court in Kabul that refused to hear any of his evidence or call any of his witnesses, and he was sentenced to death in a matte of minutes. The sentence was later changed to 20 years gaol, 7 of which he served in Afghanistan’s most notorious priso, Pol-e-Charki, described as the world’s worst place to be a Westerner. In 2016 he was pardoned and released, and this is his amazing account of what it took to stay alive and sane in almost unimaginable circumstances.
We’re coming up in a few months to the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. The Tet Offensive was a combined military action and civilian uprising throughout South Vietnam, orchestrated by the North Vietnamese, and intended to win the war in a single stroke. The most dramatic of these actions was the capture of Hue, the cultural capital. The battle to retake Hue, fought over 24 days of bloody street fighting with the loss of 10,000 combatant and civilian lives, was the bloodiest battle of the entire Vietnam War. This new account of the battle has been written very much from the point of view of the people on the ground – Bowden relies significantly on first-person accounts from American servicemen and Vietnamese soldiers, guerrillas and civilians. The Tet offensive, and the battle of Hue, were a tipping point in the war – the American debate moved from winning the war to working out how to leave. Mark Bowden will probably be familiar to some listeners who have read his earlier books like Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo. This new book lives up to his reputation: it’s a classic narrative about he role of grit and the individual soldier in urban battle.
There’s nothing like a good, racy historical thriller to while away a miserable day. And the weather hasn’t been kind to us so I’ve needed a few lately. Robert Harris has written numerous fabulous books – his series on ancient Rome are among my favourites. But my favourite Robert Harris books are the ones set around the time of World War 2, like Fatherland and Enigma. So I’m delighted that he’s penned us another novel set in this time. It’s set in 1938, at the Munich Conference, and it’s a real page-turner. Cancel all appointments before you start page 1. This is compelling fictionalised history. Chamberlain is faced with a situation, as the world faces today with North Korea, in which options don’t appear to be available. Two fictionalised characters, Paul Hartman, a German diplomat and a member of the anti-Hitler resistance, and Hugh Legat, one of Chamberlain’s private secretaries, were friends at Oxford, but haven’t met since Hitler came to power. Now their paths cross again, and this time the stakes are high.
Many of us will spend some time in the south west over spring, summer and autumn. When you’ve had your fill of wine and food, you’ll probably want to enjoy the bush and the coast that the area is famous for. What better way to do it than on foot. So it’s very timely that Jane Scott has updated her book “Walking the Capes” – this new edition, now called “Walking Round in Circles”, has 29 walks that will suit everyone – whether you just want a short stroll, or you want a full-day walk. They all start and end in the same place, so you can conveniently park and walk. And they’re described in detail, with time estimates, distances, clear maps and photographs.
For a film nerd like myself, this book is a pure delight. The book, released to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the very first Star Wars film, is a collection of forty different stories by forty different authors, each story retelling a moment from Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope from new points-of-view. We get to find out what happened to the storm troopers who didn’t find the droids they were looking for, the tale of the red droid Luke didn’t buy, the back-story of the cantina band, and more. This collection oscillates between classically great science fiction storytelling to playful reinvention of familiar moments. An absolute highlight for me is the HR incident report from the military chief who was choked by Lord Vader, and is most upset about Lord Vader proselytizing about his private faith in the workplace. Much like Alderaan, this book is a real blast.
As a good Scandinavian, Margareta reflects that the Vikings sensibly buried their relatives with many of their possessions. Although this was to make sure that the dead wouldn’t miss anything in their new world, it was also very effective at getting rid of a lot of “skrap” (Swedish for junk) that the relatives didn’t really need. Unfortunately, these days we’d need an Olympic sized pool to be buried in if we took all our “skrap” with us! We’re all going to die one day, and the message in this book is that we should put our house in order so that or loved ones don’t have to spend days or weeks sorting out all the accumulated junk in our lives. And if we are going to move to a smaller home, or even a nursing home, then having our house in order will make the transition so much easier for everyone involved. I was lucky, my mother (the last to go) did some kind of Australian version of Swedish Death Cleaning, and it was easy for me and my siblings to deal with everything. Except for the soap – she had 30 cakes of soap stashed away. We’re not quite sure why. For some of us though, we need to convince our parents to do some death cleaning. And Margareta has excellent advice on how to do that tactfully, but effectively. This is a practical guide to how to downsize, and it’s very droll. For example, discussing how we all get new stuff before the old has worn out, but often keep the old stuff in a cupboard, she counsels us to throw out the old stuff, saying “this crazy consumption we are all part of will eventually destroy our planet – but it doesn’t have to destroy the relationship you have with whomever you leave behind”. How practical! There’s advice on every aspect of death cleaning – whether it’s clearing out man caves (“mansdagis” – male kindergarten, in Swedish), or getting rid of gifts that you didn’t want but don’t have the heart to throw away, to dealing with pets (Margareta recommends that if you’re old, go to the pound and get an old and tired dog too), and to the “little black book” – the one with all your internet passwords. This is a delightful and useful book on a subject that we shy away from, and if we take Margareta’s advice we can probably actually make our lives (what’s left of them) a lot more enjoyable!
This is my favourite novel from the 2017 Man Booker Prize shortlist, and is the first of a quartet from Smith. Hilarious, poignant and clever all at once, it is set in England (just) post the Brexit vote. Academic Elisabeth Demand visits her mother in the country and relates some of their difficult history. In a nearby hospice lies Daniel Gluck, an old neighbour with whom Elisabeth had been very close. Now well over 100 years old, Daniel is not expected to last long, but remembering their friendship, Elisabeth begins to visit and sit with him. Over the course of several weeks in Autumn, as the country reels from the recent vote to leave Europe, Daniel dreams, Elisabeth remembers, and she and her mother begin to connect.
The New Scientist magazine regularly publishes books that make the various areas of science accessible to all of us – both authoritative and at the cutting edge. This latest one focuses on the human condition, the experience of being alive and the events and stages we face in our journey through life. It will tell you what science tells us about generosity, belief, disgust, why we pick up bad habits and find it hard to kick them. It covers life’s phases from birth to death, how children change their parents and the upsides of old age. With entertaining infographics and great photographs, this book takes us on a very enjoyable exploration of what it is to be human.
This book is the incredible evolutionary journey of the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous molluscs who would later abandon their shells to rise above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so. And they took this journey quite independently from the route that mammals and birds would later take. The octopus “is probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien”, the author writes. The fact that they have eight legs, three hearts, and blue-green blood allies them more with The Simpsons’ gloopy extra-terrestrials than anything earthly. They’re very clever: one story in the book is of an octopus at the University of Otago in New Zealand that learned to turn off lights by squirting water at the bulbs; brightness annoys an octopus. Cephalopods are not only aware of their environment; they seek to manipulate it. This is a fascinating and very well written book by a philosopher of science who also happens to be a keen scuba diver – a keen insight into one our most remarkable animal relatives.
Well, psychopaths certainly don’t seem human. But they are, and they’re here, and we all have to deal with them from time to time. 5 to 10 percent of people are probably psychopathic without ever indulging in a single criminal act. These everyday psychopaths are often charming when you first know them, but may leave you feeling cheated and humiliated, dominating and manipulating you to the point where you question your sanity. This book is a guide to restraining these difficult people in your life. It helps you understand the condition, recognise psychopaths at home and at work, and managing them if you can’t get them out of your life.
Theme Solutions and Boffins Books are proud to present Dave Graney as he speaks about his new book Workshy: My Life as a Bludge. Dave Graney will be speaking in conversation with Bob Gordon.
Boffins Books present a Perth CBD signing with Australian cricket captain Steve Smith to coincide with the release of his new book, The Journey.
Kate (talented designer) and Jela (originally from W.A. – horticulturist and landscape architect) have worked together on this superb book. If you’re a bit bored with the “bush garden” aesthetic, but still want to use natives in a more creative way, then this book is for you. Our garden has too many shady places, and I’m inspired by what I’ve found in this book. It took me on a journey into the rainforest, and introduced me to plants that I can use, and to using contrasting foliage textures. The book also features some of the people who champion Australian plants, from landscape designers, to plant scientists, to sculptors and textile designers, and they reveal some of their fascinating secrets of how they use our beautiful plants. With this book, you’ll be able use Australian plants in new ways that make your garden a delightful place.
This is the first full-colour publication of some of the most extraordinary botanical prints of the 18th Century. Joseph Banks was a gifted naturalist who accompanied James Cook on his first voyage around the world between 1768 and 1771. He collected exotic flora along the way – from Madeira, Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia and Java. On his return, he commissioned over 700 superlative engravings of these specimens, as a scientific record. Known as Banks’ Florilegium they are some of the most precise and exquisite examples of botanical illustration ever made, yet they were never published in Banks’ lifetime. This selection is made from a unique limited colour edition of the prints, with expert botanical commentaries. If you love botanical illustration, or you have a special person in your life who does, this book is for you.
We’ve had a few books on bush foods over the years, but often they’ve been less than approachable. This one is different, not just because it has recipes for Sandalwood Nut (Sandalwood Nut and Seed Crackers – perfect for cheese and bikkies, imagine them paired with Nullaki or Torndirrup Native Herb cheese from Dellendale down south in Denmark). The authors describe it as “their humble little cookbook”, intended to introduce us to the edible natural wonders Australia has to offer, with recipes and inspiration for 40 of our most interesting and beneficial bush foods – hence superfoods. They include extensive information on where to get the bush foods for these recipes, and when the various ingredients are in season. You can find them fresh, frozen or dried, so it’s not as hard as we imagine. For each ingredient, there’s a page of interesting background on the native ingredient, including how it was traditionally used. Then, there’s a double page with each recipe and a photo of how it should turn out. Whether you fancy finger lime guacamole, or Green curry with native ginger leaf, or quandong syrup pancakes, you’ll find the recipes here.A great way to get in touch with the wonderful bush foods that are available and can give a unique taste to our food.
Sleeping Beauties is an impressive collaboration between blockbuster novelist, Stephen King, and his son, Owen King. It’s a sci-fi/horror blend, telling the story of a pandemic that sweeps across the globe, a sleeping disease that only infects women, and leaves them unconscious and wrapped in cocoons. What follows is a horrifying world of men without women, a world falling apart. And things only get worse when some of the women get forcibly woken – coming back from their sleep as terrifying and powerful creatures. Sleeping Beauties is definitely a weird novel, but the father-son writing duo have created a true epic, one reminiscent of other Stephen King classics – like The Stand, with its own world under threat from a pandemic, or Under the Dome, with another high-pressure situation revealing the worst of people. Let’s hope we see another collaboration from the Kings again soon.
This is the perfect book of cartoons for those who like reading, writing and everything in between. Gauld’s incisive scrutiny of literature, the creative process, the literary life and modern pop-culture manages to be funny, enlightening, gently irreverent and nerdy-cool all at the same time.
In her first novel in a decade Minette Walters has moved away from crime friction and turned her gaze on fourteenth century England and the devastation caused by what would later come to be known as The Black Death or The Plague. For many years Walters, who lives in Dorset, has been aware that under the ground she walks on every day there exist ‘plague pits’ - mass grave sites where countless bodies were buried. It is thought the disease entered the England on the Dorset coast around 1348 and wiped out around half the population.
The City of Perth Library, UWA Institute of Advanced Studies and Boffins Books, are proud to present former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans as he speaks about his new memoir, Incorrigible Optimist. Gareth Evans will be in conversation with Professor Stephen Smith.
I loved the adventures of Arthur and Trinket as they escape the ghastly Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. Shy Arthur, who dreams of music and finding his home, and bouncy Trinket who fizzes with energy and faith in Arthur’s destiny, make a wonderful heroic pair. The world of Lumentown, above and below, with all its strange creatures and inventions, is beautifully drawn (literally sometimes - the book includes many charming illustrations) and is a great mix of Dickens, steampunk and Wind in the Willows all rolled into one.
This is just the most wonderful book – and the recipes come from all sorts of books. There are some great ones from famous children’s books. A Farmhouse Lunch for Five – Steak and Ale Pie, accompanied by pickled beetroot and pickled onions, comes from Enid Blyton’s “Five Go on a Hike Together”. And from “Winnie the Pooh” by AA Milne, there are wonderful Hunny and Rosemary Cakes. Given the weather we’ve been having, what could be better than the Clam Chowder from Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick’. This is a delightful book, each recipe starting with a quote from the book, giving the context for the recipe. Then there are Kate Young’s own little stories related to the book or the recipe. And last, the recipes itself, described in a lovely step-by-step manner. A delight of a book, and useful too!
Following her record breaking Ancillary series, Leckie returns to the same fictional universe in this riveting tale of murder, power and political turmoil. Leckie is a powerful writer who can perfectly balance the construction of an intricate fictional universe with the inclusion of fascinating characters.
A hiking trip in the Giralang ranges intended to be a team building exercise goes horribly wrong when one of the five hikers disappears and the others struggle to find their way back to base camp. As a search is mounted for Alice Russell the AFP becomes involved. Alice, it turns out, was a whistleblower, about to hand over final documentary evidence against the company she worked for. Her four colleagues each give a slightly different account of what took place on the hike and the police are unsure if they are dealing with an accident or a crime. Alternating between the story of what happened on the hike and the investigation and search for Alice, Force of Nature is as tense and compelling as Harper’s debut novel The Dry.
As a long time fan of Peep Show I was interested to see Robert Webb write a book that seemed to be the opposite of his character Jeremy. This book is extremely well-written and absolutely delightful to read. As well as a lot of funny moments – poking fun at his own teenage angst – it has a lot of heartfelt honestly such as the moment when he confesses his concerns about still being a virgin to his dying mother. Not just a book for fans of Webb’s comedy, this is an insight into a young man’s strained relationship with his father and how it came to be that way.
Over the last 30 years there’s been a huge amount of archival material opened up, in Russia of course but also in other countries, that allows a re-examination of the Russian Revolution. Sean McMeekin has done just that in this compelling new one-volume history of the revolution that went on until 1922 and in which over 20 million people lost their lives. It’s not dry history – orgies, vodka, Rasputin, pogroms, and of course the First World War on the eastern front all ornament the story. But most of all, it’s a tightly structured story of how the revolution descended from its democratic beginnings into a Bolshevik takeover – with the connivance and help of Russia’s enemy, Germany
Alexander Hamilton was one of the founding fathers of the U.S.A., and in case you don’t know, in 1804 he was shot and killed in a duel by one Aaron Burr, Vice-President of the United States. Poor Burr, lumbered with this legacy! Well, decades ago, in 1973 in fact, Gore Vidal came to Burr’s rescue in his wonderful historical novel It’s just been reprinted. It’s a superb tale that will have you curled up in a chair in no time. Best of all, Gore Vidal, who could always be depended upon to cause an upset, presents Burr as a hero rather than as a scoundrel. It was the first in Vidal’s American history series. It’s set in the 1830s, so there’s the story then, but also the story based on his recollections of the revolutionary war, the early history of the Republic, and his famous contests with Hamilton and Jefferson. It’s an amazing work of historical imagination and hugely entertaining, and a fabulous antidote to Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. So good to see it reprinted and available to a new generation.
Most people will have heard of the Mitford sisters, members of an English gentry family of the twentieth century.They became celebrated, and at times scandalous, figures that were caricatured, according to The Times journalist Ben Macintyre, as "Diana the Fascist, Jessica the Communist, Unity the Hitler-lover; Nancy the Novelist; Deborah the Duchess and Pamela the unobtrusive poultry connoisseur". Jessica Fellowes wrote the five official companion books to Downton Abbey, so she’s no stranger to historical fiction, particularly of the upstairs downstairs variety. Now she’s written the first in a crime series set in 1919 and starring Louisa Cannon, who escapes poverty in London to become a nursemaid and companion to the Mitford sisters at Asthall Manor in rural England. 16 year old Nancy is her favourite. But then a nurse - Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake - is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret. Louisa meets railway police officer Guy Sullivan early in the novel. He’s ambitious and yearns to join the ‘real’ police so, when Florence Nightingale Shore’s case goes cold, Guy continues investigating the murder himself. With occasional assistance (and encouragement) from Louisa and Nancy. It’s well written and researched, touching on a lot of issues of the time – just after WWI – including the impact of war on those fighting and those left behind, the position of women (their lack of formal schooling), the class system as well as families and relationships. It’s an entertaining mystery, with a few good red herrings, and a great period setting.
Boffins Books are proud to be the offical bookseller at Lions Alzheimer's Foundation's book launch for Maggie Beer and Ralph Martins' Maggie's Recipe for Life.
I couldn’t resist having a go at this book, though I did wonder if I would be giving up part way through with disappointment if it was all too self controlled. In fact, I found it fascinating. I don't think it would be possible to write a book of this size so soon after suffering a loss so big without revealing a lot about yourself. In particular I liked the nitty gritty detail of putting together a campaign; typical days on the road; preparing for debates; the email scandal; Russian interference, etc. Clinton reflects on history, especially of women in politics and gives some insight into her personal life, particularly on what it feels like to lose a race most people thought she would win. She has had a long life in the public eye spanning significant changes in American history and politics and her views make interesting reading.
Some years ago William Taubman wrote a superb biography of Nikita Khrushchev, the Russian leader after Stalin. I read and loved that book. I’m delighted to say that his new biography of Gorbachev is just as interesting, and just as long (852 pages). It starts with his upbringing on a collective farm in the Caucasus, through his university days studying law, his marriage to Raisa, and his rise through Communist Party ranks. In power from 1985, he brought about great changes which eventually led to the breakup of the Soviet Union, to economic reform and to democracy. We’re all familiar with perestroika and glasnost. This is fascinating book, not just for the intrigues but for how it reveals life in Russia at the time, and Gorbachev’s (and Raisa’s) travels and encounters with world leaders.
This is perfect for a starter in YA thriller (when you've read so much fantasy you start to sweat fairy dust) with a perfectly fitting mishmash of contemporary and historic vibes so as not to overwhelm but to keep you intrigued.
Part sporting memoir, part leadership game plan, this book is a masterclass from one of the all-time greats.
This book gives you all the technical know-how required to become an expert in the art of baking. It includes everything, from the fundamentals you need to know through to recipes for breads, Viennese pastries, brioches and more.
Back to his Pillars of the Earth best, this new novel from Ken Follet is set at the beginning of the war between the Protestants and the Catholics.The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else – no matter the cost.
The City of Perth Library, UWA Institute of Advanced Studies, UWA Publishing and Boffins Books are proud to present Josephine Wilson as she speaks about her book, Extinctions, to celebrate winning the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award.
To celebrate the new release of the newly updated Kingfisher Space Encyclopedia, Boffins Books is having an outerspace fun themed event for the School Holidays.
To celebrate the new release of Iggy Peck's Big Project Book for Amazing Architects, Boffins Books is having an architect fun themed event for the School Holidays.
Boffins Books present a Perth CBD signing with Australian music icon Jimmy Barnes to coincide with the release of his new book, Working Class Man.
Ten year old Justine Lee lives with her Pop, a survivor of the Burma railway, on the banks of the Murray river. She loves the river and its surrounds, escaping there as often as she can to play and explore. Justine’s mum left years ago and her dad’s visits are unpredictable and often violent. At school Justine is increasingly isolated, unable to read or write and too shy and confused to speak up about it. By the time she hits puberty, something else she doesn't really understand, Justine is in a very vulnerable position and suffers for it.
This is an irreverent crash course through the great thinkers of the world. It even has a section on new agers – and the authors illuminate the dimness of new age thought with this joke:
A.C. Grayling has written this book as a response to Brexit, and to the election of Donald Trump, neither of which events he likes. He argues for representative democracy (where the lawmakers we choose make the decisions based on exploring the issues and the evidence) as opposed to authoritarian leaders (lots of power to the leaders, as opposed to the legislature) and populism (knee-jerk decisions by often uninformed people, often in referenda). The book is full of examples of situations through history that have much in common with what’s happening now in the West. Not everyone will agree with him, but it’s a book to get you thinking about the issues from new angles
Boffins books are delighted to partner with Luna Palace Cinemas as they present a special screening of VOYAGE OF THE SOUTHERN SUN to coincide with the Australian Geographic Voyage of the Southern Sun National Screening Day Sunday, October 29, 4pm at Windsor Cinema, the day before the book is released into bookstores.
Young Jane Young is the timely story of the Lewinsky-esque intern Aviva Grossman who, after an affair with a married congressman in Florida, resorts to changing her name, changing careers and moving states in order to escape the scandal. However, many years later, she tries to return to the world of politics and the scandal resurfaces. The novel sits right in the nexus of dozens of extremely topical issues, from slut-shaming, to public humiliation, from the culture of the Internet to political sex scandals and juggles them with skill, grace and a heavy dose of feminist wit. Absolutely worth reading.
Wake in Fright is a 1961 Australian pulp classic, turned into an infamous cult film of the same name. It tells the story of an Englishman, John Grant, teaching in one-room school in a remote Australian town who tries to get back to Sydney for Christmas holidays. Instead, he ends up broke and stranded in a small mining town, at the mercy of the locals and his life slowly turns into a bloody and alcohol-infused nightmare. The book has just been adapted again as a two-part miniseries set to debut on Channel 10 later this year, so now is the perfect time to rediscover this gritty thriller.
This is the gruelling and heartbreaking story of 14-year-old Julia “Turtle” Alveson and her extreme survivalist doomsday-predicting father Martin. They live in an isolated derelict house, stocked up with food to last three years and enough guns to arm a militia. As Turtle goes to school though, her isolated existence and mindset begin to crumble, and she starts to see her father for the controlling and sexually abusive monster that he is. A startling and frank exploration of some deep psychological torment, this book isn’t for the faint of heart, but it rewards the effort if you have the ability to see it through.
I’m actually surprised at how popular jerky has become, and at how many customers come in asking for a book to learn how to make their own. This book is the one people seem to like best, and it covers not just meat, but also fruit and vegetable jerkies. It has the old favourites like biltong, but far, far more – even Bloody Mary straws (made from ham) which would be great if you didn’t have any celery sticks. There are even recipes for Jerkys for your pets!
If you want to get deeper into home cheese making, I recommend this book which has been available for a couple of years and is very popular. It covers the fresh, unripened cheeses like ricotta and quark and cream cheese. It also shows you how to make hard cheeses – feta, cheddar, haloumi, edam, parmesan and the stretched curd cheese like Mozzarella and Bocconci. Blue mould ripened cheeses are covered as are the washed rind cheeses and goats milk cheeses. All the equipment you need is explained, the instructions are nice and clear, and you’ll be off on a new adventure with this book.
We’re all becoming aware of the importance of good stomach bacteria to our health – Michael Mosley has certainly been on a mission to spread the word. We stock quite a few books on fermenting, but I just love this new book by Sydney wholefood guru Holly Davis. It’s a superbly set out and illustrated book that will have your mouth watering. Best of all, Holly Davis makes preparing fermented foods a breeze.There are numerous versions of Kimchi, salsas and chutneys. Fermented drinks like ginger beer, mead, various vinegars, shrubs (a kind of fruit concentrate) are all covered and there are great recipes for brined foods – pickle your own vegetables with these recipes, or if your lemon tree is full now think of preserving them. It’s easier than you think to make your own cultured foods like kefir, crème fraiche, butter, buttermilk, Kombucha. If baking is your thing, leavened foods are thoroughly covered: sourdoughs, pastries, cakes, batters, flatbreads. Incubated foods are there too - yogurts and labneh, cheeses, the Japanese koji and miso, the Indonesian tempeh. And Cured foods – vegetables, meat, fish and tofu cured with salt or a ferment – get thorough coverage too.
Twins Aneeka and Parvaiz have been mostly raised by their sister Isma, who put her own life on hold when their mother died. When they finish school Isma resumes her studies and moves from London to the US to complete her PHD. As his twin also begins a new life at University, Parvaiz flounders, feeling he is being left behind by both his siblings. His loneliness and vulnerability are spotted by Farooq, who befriends the young man and slowly but surely converts him to the jihadist cause. The resulting tragedy, in fact a modern retelling of the Greek play Antigone, pits State, family, faith and the individual against each other in a chillingly timely tale.
This is my favorite book for 2017. I am so excited about it and I've been dying to rave about what an awesome novel it is. Aimed at primary-middle readers Lintang and the Pirate Queen is an adventure for all ages. The characters are bold and well moulded, the village lore and culture rich and diverse. Book one in a series of five, Tamara Moss really makes me feel like I'm part of the adventure and when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it, breaking it down until I picked it up again and the exciting plot kept me wanting more.
Exquisitely beautiful and sad in equal measures, Hide is a novel to take your time over and savour every word.
If you like a dram of the holy water, you’ll love this book. Rachel says that whisky in Scotland is like heat in Australia – it’s everywhere. She’s obviously never been for a swim in Esperance, but we’ll give her a bit of licence. She also says that whisky is to Scotland like food is to the Mediterranean – which has really made me think about the Mediterranean diet, and how I might tweak it. This is a real romp through the world of Scotch whisky, its history and its myths. Rachel travelled the length and breadth of Scotland visiting the ubiquitous distilleries to find out how all the different whiskies are made, drunk, and even cooked with. Highly recommended, a book as full of spirit as the drink itself, you’ll laugh and learn together.
The You Am I front man has written his autobiography, and it’s a hot seller in our music biography section. Kalgoorlie born Rogers has a big larrikin streak, and he’s also a bit of a dandy, and this is a delightfully open and offbeat memoir that will keep his fans in their seats. Great for all the rockers out there (it’s a sturdy hardcover), and beautifully written as you’d expect from such a fine wordsmith.
This handy guide asks us to question the information fed to us by politicians on matters they are barely qualified to speak on. Whether it’s about vaccination, fracking or climate change, Levitan shows the ways in which our law-makers misunderstand data or flat out mislead the public with information that sounds legitimate, but does not hold up to scrutiny if we take the time to question it. And all of it under using the disclaimer of ‘I’m not a scientist but…’
Retired spy Peter Guillam is called to London to face an investigation into covert operations he took part in decades before during the height of the Cold War. As he answers, avoids and deflects questions from a younger generation of intelligence officers, he and they rake over the details of events he has spent decades trying to forget. Where exactly is his old master and hero, George Smiley? Is Peter going to be made a scapegoat for the consequences of Operation Windfall? Did the end really justify the means all those years ago, and were the gains made in the Cold War battle against the Russians worth the lives sacrificed and the integrity compromised? As the present and past stories unfold side by side, John le Carre weaves a suspenseful tale of moral ambiguity.
General Gordon Bennett was commander of the Australian 8th Division in Singapore in 1942. When the British surrendered to the Japanese, Bennett escaped to Australia because he believed that he could share useful information about Japanese fighting tactics to help in the war ahead. Prime Minister Curtin accepted this, but the army high command believed that he should have stayed with his men. It’s been one of the biggest controversies in Australian military history ever since. No-one doubts Bennett’s courage or ability – he became a General at the age of 29 years in France in World War 1, and he had a reputation in both wars as a fearless fighter.But did he do the right thing in leaving his men behind? Or did he just become a scapegoat for British military failings? It seems that most of his men thought he was right, but the top brass – and ultimately a Royal Commission – disagreed. This book is riveting – the long standing mutual dislike of Bennett and Commander in Chief Thomas Blamey started before World War One runs through it. It’s a great history of the 8th Division and of the fighting in Malaya and Singapore, and Bennett in particular.
I've yet to hear anyone say a bad word about Wally Foreman. He was both liked and respected personally and professionally. I spent hours listening to him commentate on the cricket from the WACA and remember his enthusiasm and humour on air. I also recall his fierce advocacy on behalf of the WA Institute of Sport and athletes in general. Legend From Bruce Rock is a lovely tribute from a son to his father, but also an important record of a man who contributed so much to this state.
Boffins Books present a book signing with former Western Australian Premier Brian Burke for his new book, A Tumultuous Life.
The City of Perth Library, UWA Institute of Advanced Studies and Boffins Books present a different sort of book launch – Clear to the Horizon – with author, musician and screenwriter, Dave Warner. Accompanied by a guitarist, Dave will entertain us with songs, poems and tales about love, his early life in Bicton and writing crime fiction.
A wealthy English woman walks into a funeral parlour one day and arranges her own funeral. Six hours later she is strangled to death in her home. Ex policeman Daniel Hawthorne is acting as a consultant on the case and approaches the author Anthony Horowitz to write a book about his work. Horowitz doesn’t much like Hawthorne, but can’t resist the puzzle of Mrs Cowper’s murder and the chance to observe a real life criminal investigation. He’s been writing fictional crime for years but never come close to the real thing, so he agrees. The Word is Murder is a fun read, like a mixture of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, but with the added twist of the main character being a real person who narrates the book. Where the line between fact and fiction lies is part of the puzzle. I liked all the stuff about the business of writing - dealing with agents, watching your stories being adapted for TV or the big screen, the pressure of deadlines etc. There’s a hilarious scene in which Hawthorne interrupts and ruins a meeting Horowitz is having with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson about his script for the forthcoming Tintin movie.